We compute the small time asymptotics of the fundamental solution of Hörmander's type hypoelliptic operators with drift, on the diagonal at a point x0. We show that the order of the asymptotics depends on the controllability of an associated control problem and of its approximating system. If the control problem of the approximating system is controllable at x0, then so is also the original control problem, and in this case we show that the fundamental solution blows up as t−N/2\$\backslashphantom {\backslashdot {i}\backslash!}t^{-\backslashmathcal {N}/2}\$, where N\$\backslashphantom {\backslashdot {i}\backslash!}\backslashmathcal {N}\$is a number determined by the Lie algebra at x0 of the fields, that define the hypoelliptic operator.

%B Journal of Dynamical and Control Systems %V 23 %P 111–143 %8 Jan %G eng %U https://doi.org/10.1007/s10883-016-9321-z %R 10.1007/s10883-016-9321-z